MethoCult™ M3231

Methylcellulose-based medium without cytokines for mouse cells

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MethoCult™ M3231

Methylcellulose-based medium without cytokines for mouse cells

80 mL
Catalog #03231
291 USD


MethoCult™ M3231 is an incomplete medium formulation that contains methylcellulose in Iscove's MDM. MethoCult™ M3231 is suitable for the growth and enumeration of hematopoietic progenitor cells in colony-forming unit (CFU) assays of mouse bone marrow, spleen, peripheral blood, and fetal liver, when the appropriate growth factors and supplements are added. This formulation does not contain erythropoietin or other cytokines.

Browse our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) on performing the CFU assay.
• Methylcellulose in Iscove's MDM
• Fetal bovine serum
• Bovine serum albumin
• 2-Mercaptoethanol
• Supplements
Semi-Solid Media; Specialized Media
Cell Type:
Hematopoietic Stem and Progenitor Cells
Cell Culture; Colony Assay; Functional Assay
Area of Interest:
Stem Cell Biology

Scientific Resources

Product Documentation

Educational Materials


Frequently Asked Questions

Why use semi-solid media?

Semi-solid media (methylcellulose-based MethoCult™ and collagen-based MegaCult™-C) allow the clonal progeny of a single progenitor cell to remain spatially isolated from other colonies within a culture, so they may be separately identified and counted.

Why use methylcellulose-based media?

Methylcellulose permits better growth of erythroid colonies than other types of semi-solid support systems (eg. agar) while allowing optimal myeloid colony formation. When appropriate cytokines are present, committed progenitor cells of both erythroid and granulocyte/macrophage lineages (CFU-GM, CFU-G, CFU-M) as well as multi-potential progenitor cells (CFU-GEMM), can be assayed simultaneously in the same culture dish.

Is it necessary to add antibiotics to the media?

No, aseptic technique should be sufficient to maintain sterile cultures. However, antibiotics (eg. Penicillin/Streptomycin) or anti-fungals (eg. Amphotericin B) may be added to the methylcellulose medium if desired.

Is there anything I can do if my cultures appear contaminated?

No, once contamination is visible, it is not possible to rescue the cultures by the addition of antibiotics. Bacteria and yeast inhibit colony formation by depleting nutrients or by releasing toxic substances.

Why can't I use a pipette to dispense methylcellulose-based media?

Methylcellulose is a viscous solution that cannot be accurately dispensed using a pipette due to adherence of the medium to the walls of the pipette tip. Blunt-End, 16 Gauge needles (Catalog #28110), in combination with 3 cc Syringes (Catalog #28230) are recommended for accurate dispensing of MethoCult™.

Can I 'pluck' the colonies for individual analysis?

Yes, colonies can be 'plucked' using a pipette with 200 µL sterile pipette tips or using a glass Pasteur pipette with an elongated tip. Individual colonies should be placed in a volume of 25 - 50 µL of medium, and diluted into suitable culture medium for further culture or analysis.

Why are low adherence dishes so important?

Adherent cells such as fibroblasts can cause inhibition of colony growth and obscure visualization of colonies.

Can MethoCult™ products be used for lymphoid progenitor CFU assays?

Human lymphoid progenitors (B, NK and T) seem to require stromal support for growth therefore cannot be grown in MethoCult™. Mouse pre-B clonogenic progenitors can be grown in MethoCult™ M3630 (Catalog #03630).

Is it possible to set up CFU assays in a 24-well plate?

Yes, as long as a plating concentration optimized for the smaller surface area of a well in a 24-well plate (1.9 cm2 as compared to ~9.5 cm2 for a 35 mm dish) is used for these assays. The number of replicate wells required to get an accurate estimation of CFU numbers may also need to be increased.

Can I stain colonies in MethoCult™ medium?

The cells in individual colonies in MethoCult™ can be stained, eg., for analysis of morphology or phenotype, after they are plucked from the dish and washed free of methylcellulose. Colonies grown in collagen-based MegaCult™-C medium can be used for immunohistochemical or enzymatic staining in situ after dehydration and fixation onto glass slides.

Are there differences in colony morphology with serum-free media?

Serum-containing media generally give better overall growth (colonies may appear larger) but there are no large differences in total colony numbers when CFU assays using serum-free media and serum-containing media are compared, provided that identical cytokines are present.

Can MethoCult™ be made with alternate base media?

Yes, this can be done as a 'custom' media order. Please contact for more information.

Is there a MethoCult™ formulation suitable for HPP-CFC (high proliferative potential colony forming cell)?

Yes, MethoCult™ H4535 (Catalog #04535) can be used for the HPP-CFC assay as it does not contain EPO. The culture period is usually 28 days. It is not necessary to feed these cultures as growth factors in the medium are present in excess. As HPP-CFCs can be quite large, overplating can be a problem. It is recommended to plate cells at two or more different concentrations.
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Product Applications

This product is designed for use in the following research area(s) as part of the highlighted workflow stage(s). Explore these workflows to learn more about the other products we offer to support each research area.

Data and Publications


Leukemia 2019 jul

Twins with different personalities: STAT5B-but not STAT5A-has a key role in BCR/ABL-induced leukemia.

S. Kollmann et al.


Deregulation of the Janus kinase/signal transducers and activators of transcription (JAK/STAT) signaling pathway is found in cancer with STAT5A/B controlling leukemic cell survival and disease progression. As mutations in STAT5B, but not STAT5A, have been frequently described in hematopoietic tumors, we used BCR/ABL as model systems to investigate the contribution of STAT5A or STAT5B for leukemogenesis. The absence of STAT5A decreased cell survival and colony formation. Even more drastic effects were observed in the absence of STAT5B. STAT5B-deficient cells formed BCR/ABL+ colonies or stable cell lines at low frequency. The rarely evolving Stat5b-/- cell lines expressed enhanced levels of BCR/ABL oncoprotein compared to wild-type cells. In line, Stat5b-/- leukemic cells induced leukemia with a significantly prolonged disease onset, whereas Stat5a-/- cells rapidly caused a fatal disease superimposable to wild-type cells. RNA-sequencing (RNA-seq) profiling revealed a marked enhancement of interferon (IFN)-alpha and IFN-gamma signatures in Stat5b-/- cells. Inhibition of IFN responses rescued BCR/ABL+ colony formation of Stat5b-/--deficient cells. A downregulated IFN response was also observed in patients suffering from leukemia carrying STAT5B mutations. Our data define STAT5B as major STAT5 isoform driving BCR/ABL+ leukemia. STAT5B enables transformation by suppressing IFN-alpha/gamma, thereby facilitating leukemogenesis. Our findings might help explain the high frequency of STAT5B mutations in hematopoietic tumors.
Cell stem cell 2019 jul

Targeting the RNA m6A Reader YTHDF2 Selectively Compromises Cancer Stem Cells in Acute Myeloid Leukemia.

J. Paris et al.


Acute myeloid leukemia (AML) is an aggressive clonal disorder of hematopoietic stem cells (HSCs) and primitive progenitors that blocks their myeloid differentiation, generating self-renewing leukemic stem cells (LSCs). Here, we show that the mRNA m6A reader YTHDF2 is overexpressed in a broad spectrum of human AML and is required for disease initiation as well as propagation in mouse and human AML. YTHDF2 decreases the half-life of diverse m6A transcripts that contribute to the overall integrity of LSC function, including the tumor necrosis factor receptor Tnfrsf2, whose upregulation in Ythdf2-deficient LSCs primes cells for apoptosis. Intriguingly, YTHDF2 is not essential for normal HSC function, with YTHDF2 deficiency actually enhancing HSC activity. Thus, we identify YTHDF2 as a unique therapeutic target whose inhibition selectively targets LSCs while promoting HSC expansion.
Nature genetics 2019

Genomic subtyping and therapeutic targeting of acute erythroleukemia.

I. Iacobucci et al.


Acute erythroid leukemia (AEL) is a high-risk leukemia of poorly understood genetic basis, with controversy regarding diagnosis in the spectrum of myelodysplasia and myeloid leukemia. We compared genomic features of 159 childhood and adult AEL cases with non-AEL myeloid disorders and defined five age-related subgroups with distinct transcriptional profiles: adult, TP53 mutated; NPM1 mutated; KMT2A mutated/rearranged; adult, DDX41 mutated; and pediatric, NUP98 rearranged. Genomic features influenced outcome, with NPM1 mutations and HOXB9 overexpression being associated with a favorable prognosis and TP53, FLT3 or RB1 alterations associated with poor survival. Targetable signaling mutations were present in 45{\%} of cases and included recurrent mutations of ALK and NTRK1, the latter of which drives erythroid leukemogenesis sensitive to TRK inhibition. This genomic landscape of AEL provides the framework for accurate diagnosis and risk stratification of this disease, and the rationale for testing targeted therapies in this high-risk leukemia.
Blood 2011 MAR

Novel imatinib-sensitive PDGFRA-activating point mutations in hypereosinophilic syndrome induce growth factor independence and leukemia-like disease.

Elling C et al.


The FIP1L1-PDGFRA fusion is seen in a fraction of cases with a presumptive diagnosis of hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES). However, because most HES patients lack FIP1L1-PDGFRA, we studied whether they harbor activating mutations of the PDGFRA gene. Sequencing of 87 FIP1L1-PDGFRA-negative HES patients revealed several novel PDGFRA point mutations (R481G, L507P, I562M, H570R, H650Q, N659S, L705P, R748G, and Y849S). When cloned into 32D cells, N659S and Y849S and-on selection for high expressors-also H650Q and R748G mutants induced growth factor-independent proliferation, clonogenic growth, and constitutive phosphorylation of PDGFRA and Stat5. Imatinib antagonized Stat5 phosphorylation. Mutations involving positions 659 and 849 had been shown previously to possess transforming potential in gastrointestinal stromal tumors. Because H650Q and R748G mutants possessed only weak transforming activity, we injected 32D cells harboring these mutants or FIP1L1-PDGFRA into mice and found that they induced a leukemia-like disease. Oral imatinib treatment significantly decreased leukemic growth in vivo and prolonged survival. In conclusion, our data provide evidence that imatinib-sensitive PDGFRA point mutations play an important role in the pathogenesis of HES and we propose that more research should be performed to further define the frequency and treatment response of PDGFRA mutations in FIP1L1-PDGFRA-negative HES patients.
Blood 2011 MAR

Activation of the unfolded protein response is associated with impaired granulopoiesis in transgenic mice expressing mutant Elane.

Nanua S et al.


Severe congenital neutropenia (SCN) is an inborn disorder of granulopoiesis that in many cases is caused by mutations of the ELANE gene, which encodes neutrophil elastase (NE). Recent data suggest a model in which ELANE mutations result in NE protein misfolding, induction of endoplasmic reticulum (ER) stress, activation of the unfolded protein response (UPR), and ultimately a block in granulocytic differentiation. To test this model, we generated transgenic mice carrying a targeted mutation of Elane (G193X) reproducing a mutation found in SCN. The G193X Elane allele produces a truncated NE protein that is rapidly degraded. Granulocytic precursors from G193X Elane mice, though without significant basal UPR activation, are sensitive to chemical induction of ER stress. Basal and stress granulopoiesis after myeloablative therapy are normal in these mice. Moreover, inaction of protein kinase RNA-like ER kinase (Perk), one of the major sensors of ER stress, either alone or in combination with G193X Elane, had no effect on basal granulopoiesis. However, inhibition of the ER-associated degradation (ERAD) pathway using a proteosome inhibitor resulted in marked neutropenia in G193X Elane. The selective sensitivity of G913X Elane granulocytic cells to ER stress provides new and strong support for the UPR model of disease patho-genesis in SCN.